Arknights Integrated Strategies Guide for Operator Preparation

Perhaps your quest to elevate your prior Integrated Strategies performances brought you here. Or, you might simply be intrigued, or even seeking to comprehend the hype around a first season event you missed. Regardless, you’re at the right place! This write-up aims to provide comprehensive guidance to your Integrated Strategies (also referred to as IS) inquiries, given that you have a basic understanding of the event’s functioning and mechanics. Don’t worry, this article will clarify everything you need to grasp.

At this juncture, you might still harbor numerous queries, and even question the relevancy of this piece, considering the event has long passed. If such is the case, here’s some delightful news for you! A second season of the event debuted on the Chinese server following the Maria Nearl event rerun, this time focusing on Operator Phantom rather than Ceobe, all under an enchanting gothic theme. Furthermore, much like Contingency Contract, Hypergryph has decided to bestow a permanent status to this thrilling game mode, with periodic events adding a dash of excitement. A round of applause, indeed!

However, the timing of this article might still perplex you, wondering why it’s here now rather than closer to the event date. The explanation is slightly intricate. While the “meta” typically remains unaltered for general events and more advanced ones such as Contingency Contract (meaning formidable 5 and 6★ Operators retain their potency), Integrated Strategies events instigate an entirely distinctive playstyle that so drastically shakes the system that possessing a roster brimming with high rarity units does not assure victory, at least not instantaneously.

Instead, IS urges players to further diversify their rosters and lessen the dependency on their formidable 6★ Operators to clear all obstacles. Players are required to enhance their choices across various rarities, nurturing robust and versatile 3 and 4★ Operators. This can be attributed to the event’s roguelike dimension, which significantly limits options since the recruitment and promotion of your Operators for runs demand a rare resource: Hope. This resource can solely be garnered through in-run events and is expended in larger quantities when recruiting higher rarity operators, and additionally for promoting them to Elite 2, given that they are initially capped at Elite 1 Max upon recruitment. This restrains access to third skills and masteries, significantly “nerfing” operators such as Thorns, SilverAsh, and Surtr who rely heavily on these.

Due to this recalibrated meta, this article is being made available now to provide players ample time to prepare a varied roster!

Building a Diverse Roster

Before we delve deeper, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the specifics of this event might undergo alterations in the future, and all the data provided here will be derived from the inaugural season of this event, Ceobe’s Fungimist, and information on the ongoing developments in the Chinese server’s current season with Crimson Solitaire. Without further delay, let’s explore the finest lower-rarity operators to train for a thorough Integrated Strategies preparation!

Sub-3 Star Operators

Yato

Yato represents a viable selection for this game mode. Her quick redeployment capability lets her function like a pseudo-Fast Redeploy/Executor with Block 2. In a landscape where Deployment Points (DP) and blocks are paramount, she comes in handy with minimal investment, despite her mediocre stats and her eventual displacement by superior operators.

Spot

Spot boasts an acceptable DP cost, remarkable versatility, and considerable party support. Although squishy by Defender standards, his dual capability as a 3-blocker and provider of sporadic heals (lending him self-sustainability) can significantly ease the strain on your limited squad building resources. Coupled with his non-existent hope cost, he often finds himself among the most chosen Operators.

Midnight

Offering high range, low cost, and a cheap “Arts” source at the onset, Midnight is a delight. Although quickly replaced by other operators as the game progresses, he can jump-start some operations and retains usefulness with his long-range archetype.

Kroos

Kroos stands strong as a powerful IS unit, thanks to her high damage output, low cost, and free recruitment (almost mirroring the main story!). In the early stages, when the adversaries are less formidable, she can easily carry the DPS. Even in the later stages, she can continue to inflict damage or handle the typically harmless drones observed in the event’s first iteration.

Steward

Steward might not warrant much discussion, but that doesn’t discount his worth. His consistent Arts damage, comparable to Amiya’s but without her recruitment cost, along with a unique targeting priority can be quite useful. He can aptly handle the Arts requirement until you amass enough Hope for game changers like Eyjafjalla or Ceobe.

Ansel

Medics occupy an odd place in the IS meta. While they are undoubtedly essential (the mere thought of Poison Fog maps without one is horrifying!), many units can emulate their recovery role in a versatile package, such as Spot or S2 Saria for tougher content. This sometimes makes it challenging to justify spending Hope on a Medic. Ansel, however, fills this void. Despite his average healing capability, it often suffices for a single Medic, and at zero Hope cost. His skill’s extended range is occasionally beneficial, making him superior to Hibiscus in this specific role. Owing to these factors, Ansel often becomes one of the most chosen Medics for IS, second only to the game-carrying Kal’tsit.

Cardigan

Cardigan emerged as a favorite among IS players, offering above-average defense stats, reasonably low cost, 3 blocks, and substantial self-sustain. This lets her guard lanes for a competent DPS without requiring constant Medic support, thus reducing the healing burden considerably.

Fang

Fang provides two blocks on an affordable, relatively sturdy unit that gradually generates DP for you. Unlike other units in this list, Fang’s utility diminishes quickly as enemies soon overpower her even in the earliest onslaughts. However, she’s still an excellent asset for the initial stages when resources are scarce, and later for players who prefer not to expend hope on recruiting Myrtle.

Popukar

Popukar as an IS unit is a subject of debate. She offers substantial early utility with her affordable cost and decent damage (particularly when hitting two enemies simultaneously, significantly relieving pressure on herself and others). However, she doesn’t contribute much else to the team and loses her effectiveness quickly as enemies become too powerful. Midnight is often a better choice, but she remains a solid option in the early stages.

4-Star Operators

Arene

Possessing expansive range, on-demand Arts, multi-targeting capabilities, and a bias against drones for maps where those are a significant threat, Arene is an ideal IS candidate when his time comes. His versatility and power carry him far, outperforming lower-rarity guards who fall short.

Click

Click is arguably the best choice for cost-effective, low-rarity Arts damage that lasts the entirety of the playthrough. Owing to her unique archetypal traits and lower Attack Interval than Core/Single Target Casters, she can easily out-perform them over the course of the stage, despite her lower burst capabilities. Furthermore, her consistent Stuns offer some support and greatly help in taking down key enemies, including Duck Lord and Gopnik.

Podenco

While Podenco may not be the most versatile 4★ operator, she excels in her specific role. Besides delivering more than adequate Arts damage, her spore clouds contribute significantly to crowd control and inflict substantial damage over time. Additionally, her ability to silence sporadic spiders significantly reduces team pressure.

Cutter

Cutter’s role is singular yet potent: pure, high damage. Her first skill can effortlessly take down most enemies and significantly dent bosses. Her second skill offers a touch of versatility, making her useful in denser waves or drone stages. However, she’s primarily invaluable for her exceptional ability to burst down major targets.

May

I’ve recently authored an article detailing May’s capabilities, particularly focusing on her at Elite 2 with full masteries. However, the same message applies to this game mode. Balancing crowd control and commendable damage, May is a secure choice that holds her own right till the end of the game.

Pinecone

Though not quite at the level of her 6★ counterpart, Pinecone can deliver high, on-demand true AoE damage to thin out waves and penetrate the defenses of more formidable enemies. Even in the later game stages, her ability to mow down multiple enemies simultaneously will prove useful if you can afford the DP cost to deploy her.

Pudding

Like Pinecone, Pudding is an expensive Operator to deploy, capable of high damage and taking down multiple enemy groups at once, utilizing the more useful Arts damage.

However, exercise caution if you plan to use Pudding as she gets a significant boost from her Module, and her second skill requires more precise usage to maximize its potential.

Jaye

Jaye is exceptionally potent. His faster redeployment time lends him immense versatility, and his high damage and healing capabilities elevate him above most other Specialists (he was even more used than Phantom during specific months!). However, the same principle that applies to raising him for general content applies here: he will permanently downgrade his base skills.

While I can only recommend him for IS, keep this in mind before deciding to raise him.

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